Athletics: Adams aims to extend unbeaten streak

By David Leggat

Valerie Adams. Photo / AP
Valerie Adams. Photo / AP

Any of Valerie Adams' rivals wondering if the champion shot putter's desire is starting to wane are out of luck.

The double Olympic champion is determined to extend her 46-meet unbeaten streak for a while yet.

Adams, over knee and ankle surgery late last year and happy with the results, is preparing for the start of her European campaign with the opening Diamond League meet in Doha on May 9.

She has won the last three Diamond Races, is eyeing a fourth, plus a third Commonwealth Games gold in Glasgow in July-August but made it clear last night that a third Olympic gold in Rio in 2016 is ''my ultimate, ultimate goal".

She would become the first New Zealander to win three successive Olympic gold medals if victorious in Rio.

''There's still a lot for Valerie to achieve," she said from her Swiss base last night.

''I've love to have another personal best throw (her mark stands at the 21.24m she threw at the world championships in Daegu, South Korea three years ago) and get to Rio and try and win again."

One of the key elements in her ferocious resolve to stay at the top as long as she can is her love of the sport.

''I still love what I do with a passion. That obviously helps.

''I am quite lucky in that I am quite strong mentally. If you don't love what you do it's pretty hard to be successful.

''The day I wake up and can't be bothered going to training is the day I hang my boots up."

Adams insists she doesn't dwell long on that streak, preferring instead to think ahead, but she's relishing the fact that she is the shot putter the others are chasing.

''The big challenge is going to every competition when I know I am the hunted," she said.

''Before I was the hunter, now there's girls out there busting their guts to hunt me down, and that's great. That's all part of sport and what it's supposed to be like."

And it's clear Adams doesn't particularly enjoy wasting her breath reflecting on the Belarusian Nadzeya Ostapchuk, who cheated Adams of her night on the London Olympic podium with the gold medal around her neck in 2012.

Ostapchuk tested positive in London, but not before standing on top of the podium, a situation which had Adams in tears under the stadium shortly after the event finished.

The International Amateur Athletic Federation has banned Ostapchuk for four years retrospectively, rather than handing out a life ban for her two offences. She is counted out of Rio as the ban won't end until midway through those Games.

Adams is of the ''it is what it is" school of thought.

''Her punishment is not going to change what I do tomorrow. Whatever. It doesn't really bother me."

''I haven't really thought about it since I left New Zealand. It's time to move on; I have a very long time ago. You've just got to deal with it."

And Adams said she has never been tempted to take performance-enhancing drugs.

''I manage to be clean because I want to be. I think that's a choice you make even when the going gets tough. It's mind over matter."

Adams, 29, with four world outdoor and three indoor crowns to go with her pair of Olympic and Commonwealth Games golds, has been happy with the results her own strength and determination has produced, ''so there's never any temptation and if there was I'd be the first person to walk away from it.

''If anything, I'm really anal about what goes in my mouth, really anal with what medication is prescribed by doctors. At the end of the day you're responsible for what goes in your mouth."

Adams is planning to contest all seven Diamond League meets at which the women's shot put is on the card.

''That is the plan, if the body holds up. But I really do competing in the Diamond League.

It's a good opportunity to compete against the best in the world and also to showcase what we do."

It will be Adams' first outdoor experience in Doha, although she won the world indoor silver medal there in 2010.

And she'll be moving from 5 degrees in Switzerland to the heat of the Middle East. Call it a fresh challenge and one she's eager to embrace.

''It' the first time in a long time I've started a season quite early. I've been training really well and am just looking forward to a good opening to start my European season."

This year's Diamond League women's shot put programme:

• May 9, Doha
• June 5, Rome
• June 14, New York
• July 3, Lausanne
• July 18, Monaco
• August 24, Birmingham
• September 5, Brussels.

- NZ Herald

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